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Volume 24 No. 156

People and Pop Culture

NHL Commissioner GARY BETTMAN tops this year's "Power 50" list of Canadian sports figures as ranked by the GLOBE & MAIL, and the paper's Eric Duhatschek writes Bettman is “nothing if not stubbornly convinced of the rightness of his own position," and he was convinced following the league’s lockout that its “ultra-loyal fans would return, no matter what." Now, some “two-thirds of the way through the lockout-shortened 48-game season, it looks as though he will be proved right.” It is Bettman’s “involvement in the lockout -- and its eventual resolution -- plus a laundry list of the things that remain on his personal to-do list in its aftermath that put him into the No.1 spot.” The full list is below (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/26).

RANK
EXEC
1
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman
2
Rogers Communications President & CEO Nadir Mohamed/Bell Canada President & CEO George Cope 
3
Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut
4
Blue Jays President & CEO Paul Beeston/Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos
5
CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon
6
Rogers Media President Keith Pelley
7
Hockey HOFer Ken Dryden/St. Michael's College School Learning Enrichment Dir Barbara Csenge
8
Penguins C Sidney Crosby
9
Flames co-Owner Murray Edwards
10
CBC Exec VP/English Services Kirstine Stewart
11
Quebecor Media President & CEO Pierre-Karl Peladeau
12
CTV President of Sports & Exec VP/Programming Phil King
13
Lightning VP & GM Steve Yzerman
14
NHL COO John Collins
15
UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre
16
NHL Jets co-Owners Mark Chipman/David Thomson
17
Soccer player Christine Sinclair
18
Hudson's Bay Co. President Bonnie Brooks/Royal Bank of Canada President & CEO Gordon Nixon/Canadian Tire Co. President & CEO Stephen Wetmore
19
IMG Canada VP Peter Sisam
20
Oilers Owner Daryl Katz
21
Molson Coors President & CEO Peter Swinburn
22
Ontario Hockey League Commissioner & Canada Hockey League President David Branch
23
Scotiabank CEO Richard Waugh
24
Canadiens Owner Geoff Molson
25
Olympic wrestler Carol Huynh
26
Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis
27
Own the Podium CEO Anne Merklinger
28
Former Olympic speedskater Clara Hughes
29
Former Olympic skier Steve Podborski
30
CBC's Don Cherry
31
Reds 1B Joey Votto
32
NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr
33
Tennis player Milos Raonic
34
Blue Jays' starting rotation
35
Raptors President & GM Bryan Colangelo
36
CAA hockey agents Pat Brisson/JP Barry
37
Hockey Canada President & CEO Bob Nicholson
38
Canucks President & GM Mike Gillis
39
Doping Control Laboratory Dir Christiane Ayotte
40
Cyclist Ryder Hesjedal
41
MLS Impact President Joey Saputo/Toronto FC President & GM Kevin Payne/Whitecaps Owner Greg Kerfoot
42
Canucks co-Owner & Chair Francesco Aquilini
43
OSEG Sports Properties President Jeff Hunt
44
NHL Senior VP/Integrated Marketing Susan Cohig
45
Hockey HOFer Wayne Gretzky
46
Sports psychologist Kimberley Amirault-Ryan
47
RDS President Gerry Frappier
48
Former tennis player Rebecca Marino
49
CFL B.C. Lions and Argonauts Owner David Braley
50
High school basketball player Andrew Wiggins

TOD LEIWEKE could get used to living in the Sunshine State. A sports business veteran who previously held high caliber positions with the Sounders, Trail Blazers, Seahawks, Wild, PGA Tour, Canucks and Warriors, he took his current role as Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment CEO just less than three years ago, and has relished in his Florida lifestyle. This weekend he will take in the Lightning’s game Friday night before heading off to his home away from home on Anna Maria Island for some paddle boarding and puppy training.

SECRET'S SAFE WITH ME: Friday night we play at home against the New Jersey Devils. The game is sold out and we’re very excited because it’s game No. 1 for our new head coach. … I have a secret hiding place here in the building -- my wife doesn’t even know where it is -- and that’s where I go watch games. She either will sit in Owner JEFF VINIK’s box or she’ll sit in the corporate box, but no one knows where my secret hiding place is. I found it this year. I get nervous during the games and I wouldn’t want to show anything but the appropriate style and grace. So if I go to my secret hiding place I can watch the game and say what I want and cheer anyway I want. It’s here in the building and it’s a seat that no one’s really aware it’s in the building. But I found it and that’s where I go hide. I watch the game: if we go down by two I’ll pace a little bit, but if we go up by two I’ll sometimes go back to the suite.

COTTAGE BY THE SEA: Saturday morning I’m going to get up and drive to Anna Maria Island where we have a little tiny cottage. That’s about an hour and 10 minute drive and it’s the first of the Barrier Islands on the Gulf. I’ll probably get a run in on the beach.

BEWARE OF SHARKS: If the water’s flat, I’ve taken up paddle boarding since I moved here. Standing on a paddle board you can actually see what’s going on in the water. As I took up paddle boarding, I started to swim in the Gulf a little less because of what I saw standing up on the paddle board. I’ve seen pretty much everything once. A lot of dolphins and I’ve seen sharks twice. Moving from Seattle to Tampa was quite a move. I used to love the mountains and go hike Tiger Mountain on the weekends. So what’s replaced that is paddle boarding. It took me a while to learn to do it. But now I love it.

TABLE FOR TWO: Saturday evening I’m going to my favorite restaurant, the Beach Bistro, where the owner SEAN MURPHY is just an avid hockey fan. It’s considered by many to be the finest local restaurant in all of Florida. They know my wine order -- they never ask me, they just always bring a bottle of suggested wine. My friend DAVID is the sommelier there. It’s a little tiny restaurant but it’s one of the most gracious, wonderful places. I’ve been going there since we moved here and the food is just consistently awesome.

THE RESET BUTTON: I love running and I do it without my shoes on. Anna Maria’s got a white-sand beach and it’s maybe the perfect running surface. It’s probably roundtrip about four or five miles. You’ve got to exercise and clear your head and mind. I think it’s a really important thing. These are businesses that can really be all engrossing, and I think it’s important to step away and to exercise your body and refresh your mind.

EASY LIKE SUNDAY MORNING: Sunday you get up and you can do any number of things in Anna Maria. If you get your exercise in, then you can think about going to breakfast at the Rod & Reel. It’s a little tiny island about six miles long and nine blocks wide; a wonderful place to spend a Sunday. I’ll be there with my wife and daughter. We have a dog and we just got a puppy on Thursday, so I’m sure it will be appropriate commotion. At the very end of the day we’ll drive back up to Tampa.

Puma named Nike Sustainable Manufacturing & Sourcing Materials Dir SHIRLEY JUSTICE GM/Global Sourcing. Justice will be responsible for all of Puma's footwear, apparel and accessory sourcing activities globally (SPORTSWEARNET.com, 3/28)....The Univ. of Memphis named New Mexico State Univ. Assistant AD MARIA ROTH Senior Associate AD/Sports Services and Senior Woman Administrator (COMMERCIALAPPEAL.com, 3/28).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to: editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

Tennis player ANDY MURRAY has recruited fellow player MAHESH BHUPATHI, who is "retiring from the ATP Tour at the end of the year," and Italian agent UGO COLOMBINI to "enhance the portfolio of interests that has struggled to keep pace with the grand-slam tournament champions whose company he shares." Bhupathi and Colombini are "ready to join forces" with XIX Entertainment, the company that signed Murray in '09. It is "understood that Bhupathi and Colombini will have special responsibility for Murray's commercial and marketing deals while he remains under the XIX umbrella" (LONDON TIMES, 3/29).

AMAZIN' MET: NBC's "Today" on Thursday profiled Mets VP/Media Relations JAY HORWITZ, with NBC's Diana Alvear noting he has been the "head of PR for the Mets for more than 30 years." But Horwitz "has a new title," and is now "known as the 'King of the Accidental Phone Call.'" Alvear said Horwitz "butt dials to dozens of victims." Mets 1B IKE DAVIS said, "I've been butt dialed probably around close to 150 times." It was mentioned that Davis has even received calls during games, to which Horwitz replied, "I said, 'Ike, I have no explanation.'" He added, "I keep it in my front pocket, I jiggle it and there you go. ... I sleep with my phone and a lot of times I accidentally call somebody" ("Today," NBC, 3/28).

NAMES: Former Syracuse Univ. assistant basketball coach BERNIE FINE has "filed the initial paperwork in a defamation lawsuit against ESPN for reporting two former ball boys' claims that the longtime coach sexually abused them." Fine, who was fired by the school, indicated he will "sue for defamation and seek undefined damages." Hearst Corp. and Walt Disney, which own ESPN, are "named as co-defendants along with reporter MARK SCHWARZ and producer ARTHUR BERKO." Fine's wife, LAURIE, also is suing ESPN "for defamation." That case is "pending in U.S. District Court in Syracuse" (AP, 3/28)....The Indians, MLB, Baseball HOF and the USS Alabama Battleship Commission on Thursday announced the launch of a new award honoring the late BOB FELLER. The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award will be given on Veterans Day in DC to one current MLB player and one Baseball HOFer, with finalists for the award announced around Memorial Day at Progressive Field. The Award Trust also has proposed that the U.S. Navy support a companion award to be given to one Navy service member a year (Indians).